URC not Ready to Resume Commuter Train Six Months after Suspension

The Uganda Railway Corporation (URC) has said it is not yet ready to resume passenger train services due to ongoing works to ensure observing the COVID-19 Standard Operating Procedures.

The passenger train service was shut down in March this year following the outbreak of COVID-19, and although Uganda Railways had set dates for resumption, this has kept on changing with the corporation saying that the risk of COVID-19 on a train with passengers is too high.

About 60,000 passengers had used the train in the month of February and 45,000 in March just before the lockdown.

Charles Kateeba, the Managing Director of URC says that over the six months, they have been handling freight to decongest the road, and that has been the major focus. He said so far they have repaired locomotives and wagons and are planning to purchase 8 more locomotives.

He says they are starting work on separation at stations and terminals which require some physical construction work. He says this has not yet started, but they hope that all the halts and stations will be reconstructed to ensure that it meets the COVID-19 standard operating procedure.

Kateeba says now their focus is going to be on passengers with emphasis on ensuring social distancing. On the time frame, Kateeba said that they are working with a plan, but did not want to excite the public on when they will resume.

Kateeba added that although they know people are missing the services of the train, they want to be sure when everything is set for the train to resume. The commuter train has five coaches with a carrying capacity of a maximum of 200 passengers.

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